Durban - Supporters of suspended eThekwini mayor Zandile Gumede say they are ready to challenge the ANC in court should it decide to fire her on Monday.
The threats come as all indications are that there is a political stalemate over the matter as the party’s provincial executive committee (PEC) monthly meeting enters day two today in Durban.
At the meeting, the PEC was expected by late on Sunday to obtain a report from committee member Nhlanhla Ngidi, the former KZN director-general, as well as from Justice and Correctional Services deputy minister John Jeffery, regarding Gumede’s matter, which emanates from her fraud and corruption charges.
Gumede’s supporters on Sunday said they believed that the party could not unilaterally fire her, and should it proceed with terminating her contract, the next step would be the Durban High Court.
The threats echo allegations that Gumede recently made to the party’s provincial leaders, that her legal team was ready to take the matter to court should they fire her.
“She recently told a provincial working committee meeting that she was ready to take the matter to court, and it looks like the threat is about to become a reality,” a senior party member said.
The leader of Gumede’s supporters, Mzomuhle Dube, said they had always wanted to take the matter of suspension to court, but backed off when Gumede showed a willingness to wait until the PEC made a decision.
He said the time was perfect for the matter to be taken to court should the party fire her, because they had no legal standing to do so.
“We have always been clear that we will take the matter to court should they decide to fire her. We will be doing so as branches saving a regional executive committee structure we elected. The party itself knows that firing her would be illegal,” Dube said.
Dube said that all they wanted to hear from the PEC was whether the suspension, which came into effect on June10, still stood or not. He stressed that only the courts could decide on whether Gumede had violated her bail conditions or not.
“They are not a court to decide on bail conditions. In fact, they do not have the legal capacity to do so. So, if they act illegally and we will challenge them in court,” he said.
ANC provincial spokesperson Nomagugu Simelane-Zulu did not respond to queries regarding when an official announcement would be made.
Meanwhile, Gumede’s supporters are planning a night vigil for her next court appearance this week. The court appearance is for the charges that got her suspended.
Speaking about the plans, Dube said they had been informed that the next appearance would take place at the Durban regional Magistrate’s Court.
He was not willing to divulge any more details on the vigil.
“Yes, we have a couple of activities planned in connection with her next court appearance. Those plans have not been finalised yet. Once we are done, we will call you and inform you accordingly,” Dube said.
It is understood that the vigil will be similar to those previously organised by former president Jacob Zuma’s supporters.
The vigil will be followed by a march to court on the morning of the appearance, with Gumede later expected to address her supporters.